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COVID-19, Food and Nutrition Security (Project)

"World-leading research to provide government, business and decision makers with the evidence that they need to develop a robust food and nutrition security response to COVID-19." New: The project partners have launche ... Read more

Environmentally friendly PPE in Scots researchers’ sights (News)

The global use of personal protection equipment (PPE) has skyrocketed due to COVID-19, propelling the industry to revenues of more than £8bn in the UK alone, and although a coronavirus vaccine now seems closer, PPE is likely ... Read more

New research on grouse moors and gamekeepers (News)

Moorland management in Scotland has come under the spotlight in a series of reports assessing the socio-economic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors and the employment rights of gamekeepers. ... Read more

The search is on for the UK's best NEWBIE entrant farmers (News)

Are you the UK's best NEWBIE farmer? The James Hutton Institute, as part of the EU-funded NEWBIE project (New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture) is calling ... Read more

Wanted: dairy farmers’ views on cow-with-calf production system (News)

A social scientist based at the James Hutton Institute is seeking the views of dairy farmers interested in running a ‘cow with calf’ production system in the UK. The system involves keeping calves with their mothers ... Read more

New method to help project demographic changes in Scotland’s sparsely populated areas (News)

Social scientists at the James Hutton Institute have developed a novel method to estimate future demographic change in Scotland’s sparsely populated areas, by considering geographical differences in employment structures and ... Read more

Social tipping dynamics key to stabilise Earth’s climate by 2050 (News)

Countries around the world must induce ‘social tipping’ dynamics by introducing far-reaching social and technological changes if they are to successfully decarbonise and prevent the devastating consequences of climate ... Read more

The search is on for the UK's best NEWBIE entrant farmers (News)

The James Hutton Institute, as part of the EU-funded NEWBIE project (New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture), is again calling for applications for the 2019 NEW ... Read more

Scottish native oysters: from food of the poor to potential socio-economic boon (News)

A new report commissioned by the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) estimates that the restoration of native oyster beds in Scotland has the potential to give a £3.5m boost to the UK economy and create jobs in some of the ... Read more

Spotlight on dairy production systems at Edinburgh Fringe show (News)

The role of grazing in dairy farming the UK has become increasingly contentious; dairy farming in the UK has changed from seasonal housing and grazing to around a fifth of farmers housing cows all year around. This change continue ... Read more

Lynbreck Croft wins inaugural NEWBIE Award for Innovative New Entrants (News)

Lynbreck Croft, a 150-acre mixed habitat croft enterprise located in the Cairngorms National Park, has been declared the winner of the NEWBIE UK award for New Entrant Farm Business of the Year and will be presented with their awar ... Read more

Soft fruit growers told about Brexit impact and opportunities (News)

While Brexit can be viewed as a very real threat to the future of Scottish agriculture, it must also now be viewed as an opportunity, albeit not an easy one to grasp. That was one of the main messages of the Soft Fruit Winter Meet ... Read more

Three path-breaking farms shortlisted for NEWBIE Award for Innovative New Entrants (News)

The Horned Beef Company, Lynbreck Croft and the Scottish Goat Meat Company have been announced as finalists of the newly-launched NEWBIE UK award for New Entrant Farm Business of the Year, due to their unique ability to overcome b ... Read more

UnderStories - Storying woodland use, management and expansion in the Cairngorms National Park (Project)

  What is the story with woodlands in the Cairngorms National Park? Or should we say, what are the stories, as there are many threads of stories of actual, former or speculative woodlands weaving in and out that make t ... Read more

Modern dairying practices the subject of Edinburgh Fringe show (News)

Agriculture is changing. There is an increasing gap between how food is produced and public knowledge and values about agriculture. Dairy farming in the UK has changed from seasonal housing and grazing to around a fifth of farmers ... Read more

Scotland’s sparsely populated areas confronted by demographic challenges (News)

New research commissioned by the Scottish Government and conducted by the James Hutton Institute estimates that Scotland’s sparsely populated areas are at risk of losing more than a quarter of their population by 2046 if cur ... Read more

Barriers to women in agriculture challenged during presentation at Scottish Parliament (News)

Evidence of significant barriers to women’s careers in Scottish agriculture has been presented at the Scottish Parliament by social researchers from Newcastle University and the James Hutton Institute. The presentation, sp ... Read more

Better support for renewable energy decision making (News)

Anaerobic digestion, a process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen leading to the production of biogas and bio-fertilisers, is an increasingly relevant source of renewable electricit ... Read more

Tay Cities Deal submission launched (News)

More than £1.8 billion of planned investment will form the basis of the Tay Cities Deal which could create up to 15,000 jobs for the region. Among over 50 projects included in a submission document revealed today at the ... Read more

Our People and Structure (Research Page)

The SEGS department is organised into two groups: ‘Environmental governance and land management’ led by Kerry Waylen and ‘People and places’ led by Liz Dinnie. ... Read more

Spotlight on veterinary epidemiology, population health and infectious disease control (News)

The Scottish Government has today announced the re-commissioning of EPIC, the Pan-Scottish Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks. For the next 5 years EPIC will be led from the University of Glasgow by Professor Dominic ... Read more

James Hutton Group awarded £22.8m for agriculture, food and environment research (News)

Scotland will remain at the forefront of ground-breaking advances in farming and food production as a result of continued Scottish Government funding for scientific research, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has said. Mo ... Read more

Prospects for North East Scotland’s land-based industries outlined in report (News)

Is the land-based sector in North East Scotland resilient enough to face future challenges? This question, along with many others, is at the centre of a report commissioned by the North East Scotland Agricultural Advisory Group (N ... Read more

Soft fruit conference told about honeyberry potential (News)

What tastes like a cross between a raspberry and blueberry, is packed full of healthy compounds and is suited to cold climates? Growers in Scotland heard about the business potential of honeyberries - a new 'superberry' fr ... Read more

UK increasingly 'outsourcing' environmental impacts of its food supply (News)

A new study from researchers at the James Hutton Institute, the University of Aberdeen, the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health and the Alpen-Adria University in Vienna shows that the UK’s food self-sufficiency has decr ... Read more

SRUC-SEPA Conference: What Future for our Farming Systems? Environmental Challenges and Integrated Solutions (Event)

Farming systems across Scotland, the UK and Europe can vary markedly from place to place. A range of factors can influence what types of production are practiced in any one place. However, climate and soil type are especially impo ... Read more

European sociologists meet in Aberdeen to discuss rural challenges (News)

How can people in rural areas thrive during times of rapid, transformational change? How can rural Europe cope with the many pressures arising from globalisation, migration, deregulation and the effects of neoliberal policies? Ove ... Read more

Too many businesses unaware of impact of declining natural capital (News)

The Natural Capital Initiative, a partnership between the Society of Biology, British Ecological Society, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the James Hutton Institute, has launched the ‘Valuing our Life S ... Read more

James Hutton Institute welcomes Defra’s open data vision (News)

The James Hutton Institute has welcomed the announcement made by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss that Defra is to release its data reserves to create opportunities for people in the UK making their living from food, farming ... Read more

Researchers and farmers discuss future of European agriculture (News)

In times of changing political conditions and increasing pressure from markets and citizens, innovation is more important than ever for farmers throughout Europe. This is precisely the focus of a group of social scientists who hav ... Read more

Decline in wheat yields likely due to changing climate (News)

Global wheat production can be expected to fall by 6% for each degree centigrade of temperature increase together with increased variability of yield across regions and seasons; that is the main finding of an international consort ... Read more

Food security group wins major funding for world-leading food and land research (News)

The Scottish Food Security Alliance-Crops (SFSA-C), a collaborative venture between the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee, has been awarded prestigious funding to research the global l ... Read more

Value of community projects discussed at energy conference (News)

The value of community-owned renewables to local economies was the focus of a presentation made by Professor Deb Roberts from the James Hutton Institute at Community Energy Scotland’s 2014 conference, which was opened by Fer ... Read more

Policy, practice, science and decision making: a tough balancing act (News)

What are the challenges faced by policy developers in Scotland, at a time of increasing calls on decision makers to base their conclusions more firmly on the underlying science and avoid inefficient use of resources? These issues, ... Read more

Whisky research from land to bottle at Royal Highland Show (News)

The future of Scotland’s national drink is being boosted by scientists at the James Hutton Institute. Their work across many fronts aims to ensure the sustainability and continued success of Scotch whisky, one of the world&r ... Read more

Vibrant Rural Communities workshop (Research Page)

A workshop was held at Birnam Arts and Conference Centre on 20 November 2013 to provide an update on research being conducted as part of the Vibrant Rural Communities theme of the Food, Land and People Strategic Research programme ... Read more

CREW projects (Research Page)

... Read more

LandSFACTS model details (inputs/outputs) (Research Page)

The LandsFACTS model was originally (v1.6) set up to simulate cropping systems at the landscape scale. Since 2007, it was further developed to allow modelling land uses at multiple scales within an evolving environment. The diagra ... Read more

SEGS Archived projects (Research Page)

Below is a list of archived projects the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group have been involved with. ... Read more

SEGS Active projects (Research Page)

The Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group are involved in a wide range of research projects. ... Read more

HUNTing for Sustainability (Project)

Project aim The overall goal of the project ‘Hunting for Sustainability’ was to assess the social, cultural, economic and ecological functions and impacts of hunting across a broad range of contexts in Europe and Afr ... Read more

Technology to support Older adults – Personal and Social interaction (TOPS) (Project)

The aim of this project was to develop technology to maximise personal and social interaction between older adults with chronic pain and their health and social care providers. Funding was provided by the Research Councils ... Read more

Cost-effectiveness, disproportionality analysis and multiple benefits of the EU Water Framework Directive (Research Page)

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to deliver good ecological status (GES) for Europe’s waters. It includes economic principles, such as the use of cost-effectiveness analysis of measures to achieve GES and of derogati ... Read more

Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Principal Researcher in Catchment Management & Water Quality
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Andy Vinten is a principal catchment scientist, with over 20 years background in applied research in soil and water management. After graduating from Oxford University with a BA in Agricultural and Forest sciences, and a PhD in soil science, he worked on irrigation and water quality issues in the Volcani Center Israel for four years. Thereafter he was a lecturer and senior lecturer on soil science at Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, and managed a Masters Course in Environmental Protection and Management  for 10 years. He joined the Institute in 2005. 

Current research interests

Andy has worked on modelling and measurement of the transport of pollutants (nitrates, phosphates, micro-organisms, pesticides etc.), for many years and contributed to the growing appreciation of the role that agricultural activities play in contributing to bathing water pollution issues in SW Scotland. 

Recent work includes assessment of cost effectiveness and proportionality of diffuse pollutant mitigation measures. This has shown support for SEPA’s targets for restoration of standing waters to Good Ecological Status, but demonstrates that for many lochs where mitigation is likely to be costly, costs can exceed society’s willingness to pay.

He has also sought to identify the responses of stream benthic microbial communities to aquatic pollution using molecular methods, and carried out modelling on the risk of microbial pollution from livestock influencing human health through bathing water and drinking water pollution; A recent interest is in the development of a new technique, filter fences, for erosion control in the aftermath of potatoes.

On-going and recent projects


  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Artz, R.R.E.; Thomas, N.; Potts, J.M.; Avery, L.M.; Langan, S.J.; Watson, H.; Cook, Y.; Taylor, C.; Abel, C.; Reid, E.; Singh, B.K. (2011) Comparison of microbial community assays for the assessment of stream biofilm ecology., Journal of Microbiological Methods, 85, 190-198.
  • Balana, B.B.; Vinten, A.J.A.; Slee, B. (2011) A review on cost-effectiveness analysis of agri-environmental measures related to the EU WFD: Key issues, methods, and applications., Ecological Economics, 70, 1021-1031.
  • Vinten, A.J.A. (2010) Monitoring, modelling and mitigation of P pollution of lochs: cost effective or disproportionate., Scottish Freshwater Group, 84th Meeting, Stirling University, Stirling, 8 April 2010.
  • Vinten, A.J.A. (2010) How effective is the implementation of controls on diffuse pollution under the Water Framework Directive in Scotland? Answers and questions from the Lunan Water Diffuse Pollution Monitored Catchment project., Water Quality Conference, 1st, Leeds University, Leeds, 23-24 June 2010.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Stutter, M.I.; Sample, J.; Dunn, S.; Birkel, C.; Potts, J.; MacDonald, J.; Napier, F.; Jeffrey, W.; Christian, C. (2010) How effective is the implementation of controls on diffuse pollution under the Water Framework Directive in Scotland? Answers and questions from the Lunan Diffuse Pollution Monitored Catchment project., Proceedings of the 14th International Conference, IWA Diffuse Pollution Specialist Group: Diffuse Pollution and Eutrophication, Quebec, Canada, 12-17 September 2010.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; MacDonald, J.; Christian, C. (2010) How effective is the implementation of controls on diffuse pollution under the Water Framework Directive in Scotland? Answers and questions from the Lunan Diffuse Pollution Monitored Catchment project., Water 21, August 2010.
  • Gouriveau, F.; Heal, K.; Stewart, K.; Vinten, A.J.A.; Russell, G. (2010) Constructed farm wetlands: An analysis of costs, benefits and perceptions., Joint SAC/SEPA Biennial Conference 2010, Climate, Water and Soil: Science: Policy and Practice, Edinburgh, 31 March - 1 April 2010.

  • Vinten, A.J.A. (2012) Introduction and overview to Tropical Wetland Management., In: Ioris, A.A.R. (ed.). Tropical Wetland Management: The South-American Pantanal and the International Experience. Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Farnham, Surrey, Chapter 1, pp1-6.

  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Ibiyemi, A.; Troldborg, M. (2021) Water levels and flows in the upper Lunan water - a hydrological-hydraulic modelling approach to management and decision support., Report for RESAS and Stakeholders, 58pp.
  • Helliwell, R.C.; Vinten, A.J.A. (2019) World Water Day 2018 report., World Water Day Conference, Edinburgh, 22 March 2018.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Potts, J. (2019) Update on trends in water quality in the sub-catchments of the Upper Lunan Water., Report for Lunan Catchment Management Group, March 2019, 5pp.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Spears, B. (2018) Cost-effectiveness of mitigation of sources of P pollution in the Lunan Water catchment: a note on effect of including point sources and internal loch sources of phosphorus along with different sources., Internal report, SEFARI, 4pp.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Gabriel, M.; Hoang-Cong, C.; Stockan, J. (2018) Could managing water levels of Lunan Water at the outlet to Balgavies Loch help conserve Chapel Mires from eutrophication and loss of biodiversity?, Report for Lunan Catchment Management Group, 15pp.
  • Spezia, L.; Vinten, A.J.A. (2018) A note on the analysis of turbidity data from the Wemyss catchment., Internal Report, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.
  • Brooker, R.; Paterson E.; Glendell, M.; Ellis, C.; Eastwood, A.; Fraser, F.; Wilkinson, M.; Skuce, P.; Macleod, C.; Carvalho, L.; Fischer, A.; Comerford, D.; Holland, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; McVittie, A. (2017) Report on natural assets theme science day, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, 2 October 2017., Theme 1 Web pages, 6pp.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Ibiyemi, A. (2017) Interim report on hydraulics modelling using HECRAS 5.0.1., 4th Lunan Catchment Management Group Meeting, 24 October 2017.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Kuhfuss, L.; Shortall, O.; Ibiyemi, A.; Pohle, I.; Gabriel, M.; Gunn, I.; O'Hare, M.; Olszewska, J.; Corrigan, J. (2017) Summary progress report on "Water for all project"., 4th Lunan Catchment Management Group Meeting, 24 October 2017, 10pp.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Wilkinson, M.; Sample, J.; Rear, L.; Hoang-Cong, C.; Novo, P.; Halliday, M. (2017) Water level management in the upper Lunan Water, Angus, Scotland, Report for James Hutton Website, 35pp.
  • Akoumianaki, I.; Potts, J.; Baggio, A.; Gimona, A.; Spezia, L.; Sample, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacDonald, J. (2016) Developing a method to monitor the rural diffuse pollution plan: Providing a framework for interpreting catchment data., CREW Report, CRW2014/13, 49pp.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; May, L. (2016) Water ecosystem services in the Loch Leven and Lunan Water catchments., Report of Joint Workshop between Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the James Hutton Institute, Guthrie Village Hall, Angus, 15 September 2016.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Miller, D.G.; Towers, W.; Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A. (2016) CAP Greening Review, Summary., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Website.
  • Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Towers, W.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A. (2016) CAP Greening Review, Part 4, Expert Panel Review. Views of members of the expert panel on CAP Greening., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Websites.
  • Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B.; Towers, W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.J.; Squire, G.; Hawes, C.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.; Owen, J.; Wardell-Johnson, D.H. (2014) CAP Greening Review - Expert panel - Interim results., Technical Report for Policy.
  • Vinten, A.j.A.; Sample, J.; Ibeyemi, A.; Balana, B.; Diggins, G. (2014) Development of indicators of the impact of SRDP (2007-2013) measures on water quality and applications at national level and to the Lunan water catchment., Report for Scottish Government as part of sub-contract with rural development company on Scotland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013: Ongoing evaluation activity 2011 to 2013, Objective III Tender reference: RERAD/018/10.
  • Baggaley, N.J.; Addy, S.; Hough, R.L.; Loades, K.; Stutter, M.I.; Vinten, A.J.A. (2013) A scoping study into BSI PAS100 compost use to mitigate field and riverbank erosion in Scotland., Contract Report for Zero Waste Scotland, ZWS ORI003-005 PO:538.
  • Avery, L.; Chilton, S.; Connolly, E.; Cummins, A.; Glenk, K.; Hanley, N.; Hewitt, J.; Kay, D.; McPhail, C.; McRory, E.; McVittie, A.; Oliver, D.; Quilliam, R.; Rabinovici, S.; Rahman, A.; Roberts, S.; Shaikh, S.; Simpson, K.; Stirling, N.; Thairs, T.; Tinch, D.; van Niekerk, M.; Vinten, A.; Watts, B. (2013) Delivering healthy water: building the science-policy interface to protect bathing water quality, Report from Delivering Health Water Workshop 3, Stirling, 9-10 October 2012.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Artz, R.R.E.; Birch, A.N.E.; Blackstock, K.L.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Cummins, R.; Flanigan, S.; Hallet, P.; Irvine, R.J.; Kenyon, W.; Pakeman, R.J., Prager, K.; Slee, B.; Squire, G.; Stutter, M.; Sutherland, L.; Thomson, K.; Towers, W.; Vinten, A.J.A. (2012) Developing agri-environmental measures for the next Scottish Rural Development Programme: a summary of relevant research findings from the James Hutton Institute., Report to the Scottish Government, Natural Resources Division, SRDP Technical Working Group (Agri-Environment), 11pp, 25 June 2012.
  • Sample, J.; Vinten, A.J.A. (2012) Assessing the effectiveness of SRDP measures: a GIS handbook., Report to Scottish Government Department of Rural Statistics.
  • Oliver, D.; Vinten, A.J.A. (2012) Report on Water of Fail Farmer Focus Group Meeting, 22 February 2012., Final Report, James Hutton Institute and University of Stirling, 24 April 2012.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Oliver, D.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Christen, B.; Jackson-Blake, L.; Macleod, C. (2011) CREW-DP report on workshop on strategies to assess effectiveness of diffuse pollution mitigation policy in Scotland., CREW-DP Workshop Final Report, The James Hutton Institute, 3-4 November 2011.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Abel, C.; Watson, H.; Taylor, A. (2009) Lunan monitored priority catchment project., Annual Report 2008.
  • Towers, W.; Booth, P.D.; Vinten, A.; Ayres, J. (2008) Human health and environmental impacts on using sewage sludge on forestry and for restoration of derelict land: Site suitability procedure land reclamation., SNIFFER.
  • Towers, W.; Booth, P.D.; Vinten, A.; Ayres, J. (2008) Human health and environmental impacts on using sewage sludge on forestry and for restoration of derelict land: Site suitability procedure forestry., SNIFFER
  • Nolan, A.J.; Booth, P.D.; Towers, W.; Vinten, A.J.A.; Owen, J.; Newman, G.; McIntyre, S.; Mackie, C, Reid, E.; Artz, R.R.E. (2007) Human health and environmental impacts on using sewage sludge on forestry and for restoration of derelict land: Site investigations., SNIFFER.
  • Booth, P.D.; Vinten, A.J.A.; Christian, C.; Haywood, E.; Avery, L.M.; Lilly, A. (2007) Ammonia in groundwater: Attenuation of sewage effluent discharge in the subsurface., SEERAD.
  • Vinten, A.J.A. (2006) Implementation and evaluation of mitigation strategies for pollution control at a farm scale., SEERAD Final report No. 626031.
  • Vinten, A.J.A. (2006) Development of methods to optimise design of woodchip corrals to minimise the pollution risk relative to other methods of overwintering livestock., SEERAD Final Report No. 626032.
  • Vinten, A.J.A.; Towers, W.; King, J.A.; McCracken, D.I.; Crawford, C.; Cole, L.J.; Duncan, A.; Sym, G.; Aitken, M.; Avdic, K.; Lilly, A.; Langan, S.J.; Jones, M. (2004) Appraisal of rural BMP's for controlling diffuse pollution and enhancing biodiversity., Final Report to SNIFFER, Project No. WFD13, 133pp.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.